Using Lightroom to Develop Aquarium Images

d2mini

Moderator
View Badges
Joined
Sep 2, 2013
Messages
4,214
Reaction score
6,606
Location
Houston, TX
Using Lightroom to Develop Aquarium Images

In my previous photo tips I've gone over equipment choices and the importance of shooting in raw. The final piece of the puzzle is the software that you use to "develop" your raw images. I prefer to use Adobe Lightroom. Unfortunately Adobe has now moved their software to the cloud in the form of a subscription based service. Although, for whatever reason, you can get the Photoshop and Lightroom bundle for "only" $10/month which may seem like a lot but it's a steal compared to their other software packages which cost 3x as much. I use Lightroom so much, even just for personal stuff, that the $10 is worth it to me. There are some other options out there. In fact, here is a link to an article that lists a few... Light Room Alternatives.

That said, what I'm about to show you is pretty basic and should be similar across all software packages. We are basically just importing the image and then making adjustments to basic things like contrast, saturation, sharpening, etc. Instead of writing it all out and trying to illustrate the process with photos, I figured it would be easier to understand if watching a video. So sit back and enjoy this little off-the-cuff tutorial that shows my typical steps for processing images of my tank. Hopefully this can help you take your images to the next level.

 
Corals.com

melypr1985

totally addicted
View Badges
Joined
May 4, 2014
Messages
15,114
Reaction score
22,665
Location
Dallas area
Oh wow!! This was fantastic! I can't wait to see even more.... I sold my olympus camera not long ago (it was something like 17 years old, maybe more) and have been looking into a new one. I know I want to do lightroom.... it seems much easier to use for somebody like me to use. I'm so glad you made this tutorial for it. I look forward to anything else (i mean anything!) you can teach us in photography land. :)
 

dragon99

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 30, 2016
Messages
2,263
Reaction score
2,761
Location
Texas
Thanks for this. I'm still trying to make Nikon's ViewNX2 do what I want. I have a hard time justifying $10/month for the rest of my life, but I know Lightroom is better. I also tried RawTherapee, but it's a bit too much to learn so far.
 

TheEngineer

Formerly icecool2
View Badges
Joined
Nov 26, 2011
Messages
7,299
Reaction score
7,614
Location
PA
Nice tutorial! I'm a big fan of Lightroom too. Wish I had Photoshop to do those final touches :) Do you ever do focus stacking?

One thing, you maybe already know but didn't want to use in the video, if you hit 'y' you can toggle between the original and the edited version of the file quickly.
 
OP
d2mini

d2mini

Moderator
View Badges
Joined
Sep 2, 2013
Messages
4,214
Reaction score
6,606
Location
Houston, TX
Oh wow!! This was fantastic! I can't wait to see even more.... I sold my olympus camera not long ago (it was something like 17 years old, maybe more) and have been looking into a new one. I know I want to do lightroom.... it seems much easier to use for somebody like me to use. I'm so glad you made this tutorial for it. I look forward to anything else (i mean anything!) you can teach us in photography land. :)
Thanks, and you're welcome. :)

Thanks for this. I'm still trying to make Nikon's ViewNX2 do what I want. I have a hard time justifying $10/month for the rest of my life, but I know Lightroom is better. I also tried RawTherapee, but it's a bit too much to learn so far.
Yep, that should work too. Lots of decent and free options out there and they should all do what I showed, either exactly the same or similarly. :)
I just wanted to show what some basic tweaks can do your images.

Nice tutorial! I'm a big fan of Lightroom too. Wish I had Photoshop to do those final touches :) Do you ever do focus stacking?

One thing, you maybe already know but didn't want to use in the video, if you hit 'y' you can toggle between the original and the edited version of the file quickly.
I have done focus stacking but I don't do it with the tank since I usually want the more shallow focus.
And yes..... the Y key... forgot about that. I don't tend to go back and forth myself so I never use it! Thanks for mentioning that. :)
 

TheEngineer

Formerly icecool2
View Badges
Joined
Nov 26, 2011
Messages
7,299
Reaction score
7,614
Location
PA
Do you shoot freehand? If so, do you just rapid fire a bunch of shots and hope one is in focus? I find at those high focal lengths I have a hard time getting things in focus when I'm holding the camera if I'm up close.
 
OP
d2mini

d2mini

Moderator
View Badges
Joined
Sep 2, 2013
Messages
4,214
Reaction score
6,606
Location
Houston, TX
Do you shoot freehand? If so, do you just rapid fire a bunch of shots and hope one is in focus? I find at those high focal lengths I have a hard time getting things in focus when I'm holding the camera if I'm up close.
No tripod. I shoot hand held so I can move around quickly and follow fish around.
Shooting coral, I always take single shots.
Shooting fish, I sometimes switch to multi-shot. I move my focus point around a lot in the viewfinder and always try to get the eyes of the fish in focus.
Sometimes I might take 2o shots or more of the same fish until I get something I'm happy with. Sometimes I nail it in just a few shots.
 

Rory's Reef

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 9, 2016
Messages
276
Reaction score
254
Location
Fort Collins, CO
This is perfect!

I just picked up a Nikon D3400 and have been having the hardest time trying to figure Lightroom out.

Thanks for the video! Now just to figure out the right settings on the camera lol.
 

revhtree

Owner Administrator
View Badges
Joined
May 8, 2006
Messages
39,994
Reaction score
46,949
This is great stuff man!
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

paul_britt_garcia

Member
View Badges
Joined
May 26, 2015
Messages
19
Reaction score
3
The Adobe Plan for Photography is only $9.99 / month for both Lightroom and Photoshop and can be cancelled at anytime! It is a fantastic value and I use it practically everyday!

(Awesome tutorial!)
 

jsker

Reefing is all about the adventure
View Badges
Joined
Apr 11, 2015
Messages
20,186
Reaction score
42,982
Location
Central Florida
The Adobe Plan for Photography is only $9.99 / month for both Lightroom and Photoshop and can be cancelled at anytime! It is a fantastic value and I use it practically everyday!

(Awesome tutorial!)
It great, Adobe got smart and made it affordable now.
 
OP
d2mini

d2mini

Moderator
View Badges
Joined
Sep 2, 2013
Messages
4,214
Reaction score
6,606
Location
Houston, TX
They've had that PS/LR deal since the beginning. I thought it was going to be a temp promo but it stuck.
If only their other software was priced that low.

Let's see some more before and after pics! :)

Here's one of the Jeep I just took yesterday.
Stopped real quick to take a shot, had terrible backlighting.
LR made it easy for me to lift the shadows and then add some bling. ;)



 

WhiskeyCoffee

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
May 28, 2016
Messages
535
Reaction score
395
Location
Silverdale, WA
Good tips overall but if you don't start out with a solid camera + lens you're going to be disappointed. I bet the camera you used to take the example pic was $900+...

You can only "doctor up" a cell phone pic so much...
 
https://www.omegasea.net/
OP
d2mini

d2mini

Moderator
View Badges
Joined
Sep 2, 2013
Messages
4,214
Reaction score
6,606
Location
Houston, TX
Good tips overall but if you don't start out with a solid camera + lens you're going to be disappointed. I bet the camera you used to take the example pic was $900+...

You can only "doctor up" a cell phone pic so much...
Correct. We're not talking about cell phones here since cell phones don't shoot raw. See the first sentence in my initial post above.
LR is a raw processing software. Your cell phone, or any camera that shoots jpg, has already processed the photo in-camera, applying all the settings for you.
JPG doesn't have much room left for adjustment being that has been highly compressed with much of the pixel information already destroyed.
You can get a nice nikon or canon DSLR for around $450 new, cheaper if you buy used.
 

samparker

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 6, 2014
Messages
502
Reaction score
711
Location
Australia
Sensational, finally a Lightroom tutorial that was reef related. Appreciate the time and effort you took to put that together. Will be switching to RAW and stepping up my photo game!
 

WhiskeyCoffee

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
May 28, 2016
Messages
535
Reaction score
395
Location
Silverdale, WA
Correct. We're not talking about cell phones here since cell phones don't shoot raw. See the first sentence in my initial post above.
LR is a raw processing software. Your cell phone, or any camera that shoots jpg, has already processed the photo in-camera, applying all the settings for you.
JPG doesn't have much room left for adjustment being that has been highly compressed with much of the pixel information already destroyed.
You can get a nice nikon or canon DSLR for around $450 new, cheaper if you buy used.
Incorrect, iPhone can shoot RAW.

Source: http://www.redmondpie.com/how-to-shoot-raw-photos-on-ios-10-iphone-and-ipad/
 
OP
d2mini

d2mini

Moderator
View Badges
Joined
Sep 2, 2013
Messages
4,214
Reaction score
6,606
Location
Houston, TX
LOL, ok if you want to go download the third party app to take advantage of that, give it a shot. The video will then apply.
Like you said though, you may still be a little disappointed with the quality since the phone has such a tiny sensor.
Doesn't mean you can't play though!

As to your original post... the video and most of what I talk about doesn't apply to cell phone or point and shoot users.
I go over that quite a bit. For anyone looking to get the most out of photography I always recommend learning how to use a real camera with manual controls.
 
Aquarium Specialty - dry goods & marine livestock

How often do you clean your filter socks?

  • Every few days

    Votes: 164 26.5%
  • Every weekend

    Votes: 103 16.7%
  • Every other week

    Votes: 51 8.3%
  • Every month

    Votes: 24 3.9%
  • When they look dirty

    Votes: 51 8.3%
  • I don't ever clean them

    Votes: 8 1.3%
  • I don't use filter socks

    Votes: 194 31.4%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 23 3.7%

Online statistics

Members online
957
Guests online
3,251
Total visitors
4,208
Top